Diversity, equity, and inclusion (D,E&I) are important to a lot of businesses. However, certain sectors and functions are falling behind.
In an effort to get a better understanding of organizational structure and compensation for executive roles with artificial intelligence and/or data analytics responsibilities, Heidrick & Struggles spoke to 179 professionals across the US and Europe.
The resulting report entitled ‘2021 Europe and US Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence Executive Organization and Compensation Survey’ found interesting figures including the fact that data teams most often interact with marketing and customer engagement functions.
However, worryingly the study also found vast underrepresentation; 80% of those who handle data are male and 65% are white or Caucasian.
This situation is even worse in Europe where 88% of European respondents in this sector were male and 81% were white or Caucasian.
The report noted the lack of diversity in data roles: “Most respondents to this survey were male and white, although the executives who responded in the United States are markedly more diverse than those in Europe.
“While the share of non-white executives was 45% in the US (with Asian and Asian Americans the most well-represented, at 33%), the share of nonwhite executives was only 19% in Europe. The share of women in these roles, while low everywhere, was in the United States double that of those in Europe.”
Improving diversity in data roles
In order to mitigate this worrying trend, many will look at how they hire. When doing this, it is important to look at the top of talent acquisition the funnel, not just at the end result.
UNLEASH recently spoke to Diversely co-founder Helen McGuire who noted: “We rewrote a job ad with more inclusive [and] neutral language, essentially replacing some of that male language. And we had 70% more applicants and about four times more women applying to the job ad.”
This instance shows the importance of using less male-orientated language in the writing of job adverts.
It is also vital to anonymize CVs to avoid unconscious bias when it comes to selecting people to interview.
Additionally, action needs to be taken from the top, and uncomfortable conversations need to be had. Companies need to look at where they are in terms of diversity, plan where they want to be, and take strategic steps to reach their goals.
These simple steps are not being taken by a lot of organizations, Workday and Sapio spoke to over 2,200 HR professionals and business leaders with influence over D,E&I in Europe and found a third had no strategic approach for addressing diversity goals.
Of course, taking action is easier said than done, but a lack of diversity isn’t going to fix itself, and sectors or functions that are failing to do anything need to act now.
Sign up to the UNLEASH Newsletter
Get the Editor’s picks of the week delivered straight to your inbox!